Effectively managing a remote sales team is one thing, but leading them when there is a challenging road ahead requires a different outlook. Because of economic uncertainty, sales people must play a game that has moving goalposts; they must quickly understand and adapt to the new difficulties in moving sales prospects through the pipeline. To help your sales team you must protect their wellbeing, motivate and empower them to hit their targets.
Here’s how to guide your sales team through a crisis and come out stronger than before.
Lay out a clear plan
What are going to be your biggest challenges over the coming months? Will it be motivating your team remotely, or maybe acquiring new leads? Whichever issues you expect to be magnified in this new way of doing business, that should be the focus when creating a sales strategy.
The current pandemic is unlike any situation we’ve encountered before and the pace of change has been dizzying. While a clear plan will help to keep your sales team on track, staying current with consumer demands has never been more important – highlighting the need for an agile team. On the plus side, gathering information about customer behaviour can be an easy process if you know where to look. Check your helpdesk and Chabot queries to identify what problems your customers are running into, what their pain points are and whether you can spot a change in buying patterns.
This will help your sales team understand how they should adapt their sales approach, but creating an agile working environment will do more than just that. Being flexible about the hours they work and letting them make the judgment call of when to spend time assisting customers rather than selling will empower your sales team. Since empowered employees are 65% more likely to stay with their company for three years, this is a real win-win.
Promote a positive working culture
There has been a lot of change since the outbreak – some bad and some good – and the uncertainty will put pressure and added stress on your team in ways they might not recognise. You can help them through these challenges by encouraging them to maintain a work-life balance, focus on their wellbeing and switch off from work at the end of the day. Creating this supportive working environment can boost team morale and help your sales people be fully present when they start the workday – whether that’s working from home or in the office.
During an economic downturn, it’s common for companies to pare back and cut their expenses, which can move training and development into the luxury column. But evidence from the 2008 financial crisis showed that companies who followed this rationale suffered the most while those who took the opportunity to invest in their businesses were 79% more likely to outperform their competitors after the recession. And what better to invest in than your sales people?
Fostering a learning culture doesn’t have to mean spending money on training courses for the team. Regular one-to-one catch-ups are a great way to encourage development, allowing you to talk your sales person through their challenges. Perhaps they’re getting customers to commit but struggling to move them to the final stage of the pipeline where the purchase is finalised. This may be a new struggle that they didn’t face before the crisis but with more buyers reluctant to spend their money your sales person needs to show more empathy – a core sales skill that has become more essential in the current situation.
Don’t forget to recognise your sales people – this is one of the top traits of a good sales manager and essential when motivating and guiding your team during a crisis. One Gallup report found that companies who increased their employee recognition goals by two-fold saw a 24% boost in staff performance.
Need help finding your next star performer?
With these steps and you’ll be confidently guiding your sales team through any crisis but sometimes a top-performing team needs a fresh injection of talent. Our consultants at BMS will work closely with you to find the candidate who is the perfect fit for your team. Find out more about how we can help – contact us.
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